Butterfly-Themed Golden, First Birthday Invitations

My little munchkin recently had her first birthday, and it was perfect.  As always, she was cute as a button, and the event was just what I was hoping for.  I know, I know, she’s a one-year-old.  She doesn’t really appreciate it the way I (her party-planning Mommy) did.  Did she really need a big to-do?  Isn’t it a little overboard?  Well, for starters, I think she did have fun with the wrapping paper and seeing everyone, but here’s the other difference:  it was her GOLDEN birthday!  She turned 1 on the 1st.  I think that’s an extra fun milestone, and heaven forbid she someday has a sibling who has his or her golden birthday at an older age and she wonders why we didn’t do something special for her.  No, no.  Not here.  We have the pictures to prove it.  Her golden birthday was definitely marked, and fun was had by all!

The first step in our big celebration was to get some invitations out, of course.  Can’t have much of an event if no one knows about it, and no one comes.  I looked around at some pre-made invitations, but couldn’t find anything that quite fit the occasion.  While there are abundant first birthday and even a few golden birthday invites out there, there is a paucity of golden, first birthday invites to be found. Additionally, I wanted to tie in the butterfly theme that I had decided upon.  My daughter’s room has butterflies everywhere, plus she enjoys pointing to butterflies both in her room and the real ones outside, so I’ve decided that she’s happy with the theme, as well.

I’ve always enjoyed making up little rhymes, so I figured the invitations would be prime real estate for one of my little ditties.  I worked on a play on “Sugar and Spice” and came up with the following:

Sugar and spice and everything fun:
This sweet, sassy girl is finally one!
As squirmy as a caterpillar, but a true butterfly beauty;
It’s the Golden Birthday of our little cutie!

If you knew my daughter, you would appreciate how precisely this describes her.  I know I’m biased, but I truly believe she is one of the most beautiful babies that ever graced this Earth.  Personality is also abundant in my little wiggle-worm.  I feel like she inherited a lot of spunk from her great-grandparents.  I wish she could grow up knowing each of them, but I figure if she ever wants to witness the sparkle and spunkiness they had, she need only take a look in the mirror at her own mischievous eyes.  I digress.

So, with my little poem and my butterfly theme in mind, I created this sort of basic invitation:

I’ve edited out some of the personal details, but you’ll notice that there’s a lack of color and a boring space in the top right.  This is where I decided to have some fun.  1) I decided to mount the invitations (ie paste) onto some pretty gold card stock that I found in Michael’s.  2) I really wanted to go all bling with the embellishments, so I also purchased some little sticker pastel-colored rhinestones and some coordinating glitter gel pens.  3) The crowning glory was from a package of 3D butterfly stickers.  There were 9 different butterflies in the package allowing for each invitation to be a little bit different.  Maybe I got a little carried away, but I had a ton of fun with it.  Tadaaa!

First, I pasted the printed invites onto the gold cards.  Second, I colored in the flowers with the glitter pens to give them that little sparkle and then used a silver pen to make the loop-de-loops for the butterfly’s motion.  Then, I stuck on the butterflies (being careful to try to keep the wings mostly within the confines of the outer card stock so that they’d fit into the envelopes).  Finally, I added on the rhinestones to the corners.  I used a little one opposite of the butterfly and big ones in the other two corners to sort of balance it out, but I’m a stickler for details like that.  Oh, and really… why stop there?  I also drew what I refer to as my “Number One Butterfly” on the flap of each envelope.  Just a happy little hint to what’s to be found on the inside of the envelope when each recipient checks the mail:

And yes, those are gold envelopes.  I got them as a package with the gold cards that I mounted the invitations on, so I knew they would fit inside.  The key to the simplicity of this project was finding the gold cards a smidge large than the white card stock that I printed on for the main portion of the invite.  To make 18 invitations, I spent about $40 at Michael’s.  I was the first to admit that I probably could have just gotten some simple first birthday invites ready-made and saved a few dollars and no one would have been the wiser, even if they weren’t golden or butterfly-bedazzled, but as my husband (bless him!) was quick to point out, “Yeah, but you wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun!”  So true.  So true.

Look for coming blog entries on more butterfly-themed excitement from her birthday.  All super easy, low cost, and fun!

Know Thy Clearance Sections: The Perfect Word Art for the Perfect Space

We rent our current house, and we know we’ll only be here for a few years, so you can imagine that “permanent” is not a useful term when it comes to decorating.  “Expensive” is another one you won’t see me flout around.  Even if I find the single most perfect item to go in a room, there’s nothing that says it will go in the next home we live in or any other home further down the road.  Thus, I say, “Know Thy Clearance Sections.”

I don’t ever want to feel like I have to use some little piece of decor just because it cost me an arm and a leg, and I also don’t want to face my husband with a huge receipt for something that I can’t use long-term.  Being on a tight budget, however, does not mean that I can’t find the perfect piece at a great price.  Two of my favorite places to shop are Kohl’s and Target.  It’s not that you can’t find more expensive things there, but if you’re smart about your shopping, you can find some extraordinarily good deals.  Both places have special items on sale or clearance daily.  Sale items are typically interspersed with their more expensive cousins, but there are some magical sections of clearance that are worth investigating on a regular basis.  In either store, for each main section (home, bath, toys, kids, shoes, etc.) I have found that there is at least one shelf or rack that is clearly labeled “clearance” and has new items added to it on an almost weekly basis.  It is here that I find some of the best things for my house, my husband and me, or my little munchkin.  Go to your local stores, and familiarize yourself with your clearance sections; it will be worth your while.  On the flip side, I will say it is rare for me to make a “quick trip” into either store, because every time I go in, I like to troll along through each clearance section each time I visit.  You just never know what you’ll find!  Items might be marked down anywhere from 30% to 80% off depending upon the item, manufacturer, etc.  Frequently, I find things that are just what I wanted and are of equal or better quality to more expensive items elsewhere in the store or in other stores altogether.

Our current master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and provides a huge blank space above our bed.  In our previous home, we had a sort of collage of artwork above the bed from Quebec where we honeymooned.  In general, this room is much bigger, and so the artwork has become scattered to smaller spots throughout the space, thus leaving the gaping white above the headboard.  See below.

Thankfully, Kohl’s came to the rescue.  Removable vinyl lettering seems to be very en vogue right now, which is perfect for a military home.  They go up easily, and they come down easily.  No worries about how to “fix it” when we move out a few years down the road.  In one of my magical clearance sections, I came across one such vinyl set that was going to be just perfect for our room.  I should start with saying that when my husband and I got married, I took issue with the “until we are parted by death” portion of the Episcopal vows, and so we dropped that and subbed in “forever and ever.”  My husband is stuck with me and just me – forever!  So you can imagine, when I found the lettering set that reads, “Just one lifetime won’t be enough for us,” I knew it would be more than perfect for our room.  To top it off, instead of the regular price of $29.99, it was on clearance at Kohl’s for $11.99.  Add in a 20% off shopping pass (which Kohl’s issues out almost every other week in the mail or via e-mail), and that brings it down to $9.60.  In case you were wondering, that’s 68% off.  My kind of deal.

Down below, you can see the finished project.  My set was made by Once Upon a Wall, and while it is “removable” it is not “reusable.”  You can do some minor adjustments as you are applying it to the wall, but you really want to make certain that you have measured out its height to where you want it to be and that the words will by and large be level.  Additionally, because the letters come rolled up on application paper inside of a tube, you definitely want to give it some time, as per the instructions, to flatten out, but even with that, I found that there would be a few creases in the paper.  What I did (and would suggest), is try to corral the creases into the spaces in between the words.  This will prevent there from being bubbles under the letters.  All in all, I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and love that it fills some of the space above the bed with love (and all on a “temporary home” budget)!